Why to drop the call centre script and get your agents really talking.

Mar 13
call centre script

Why to drop the call centre script and get your agents really talking.

‘Hello sir/madam how are you today I’m calling to help you save money on x it’s a great opportunity would this be something you would be interested in?

…click.’

When someone is reading a call centre script, it’s just blatantly obvious, don’t you think? It’s like watching a movie with terrible actors. All you can think about is how wooden they are rather than what they’re saying and what the movie is actually about. When you hear this stilted (or rambling) way of communicating from a call centre agent on the other end of the phone, it’s pretty easy to just cut them off. They don’t sound genuine, so why would you trust them enough to have your best interest as a customer in mind? If your agents are reading their call centre script word for word, the risk is they may not be connecting with the customer. They may be able to read very well – but can they communicate?

According to a recent study, 66% of customers still want to speak to a friendly customer service representative.

They want the connection that comes from speaking with a real live human. The art of conversation is not hard, we have conversations all the time – with our partner, the barista, doctor, work colleagues. We know how to communicate. Training your agents to channel this easy communication into the workplace is about getting them relaxed, confident and comfortable enough to have a chat with their customers rather than read the same spiel over and over.

 

Be prepared

If your agents are taking or making calls not knowing a thing about the customer until they are on the line, this is going to make them rely heavily on the script. Warm up the leads by ensuring you have the right system in place, so your agents can read up on who they are calling and get a full profile. Give them access to their details, previous purchase history and their service experience to date with your company. Likewise, they need to be able to pull up inbound customer details very quickly once they are put through. Once your agents have this history, it’s easy to find a point of connection – even if it’s acknowledging that the customer has had a long, frustrating journey with the company to date.

 

Empathy is everything

Conversations flow better when each party feels like they are understood by the other person. Empathy is a critically important trait for call centre agents to possess. Being able to read and acknowledge the customer’s feelings, even the very bad, angry, even scary feelings, does a lot to forge a connection.

Try getting your team together to share experiences of the customers they are dealing with- start to build some profiles of different personality types and create cards that can be used as reference tools. These cards can have pointers on how to deal with these personality types based on experience. If your agents can understand your customer’s a little better, then they are more likely to be able to have a more productive conversation.

 

Ditch the call centre script, and practice talking

A great way to ditch the call centre script is to encourage your agents to just talk. Talk to people they wouldn’t normally – the bus driver, the waitress, someone in the waiting room of the doctor’s office. Breaking them out of their comfort zone will give them the confidence to move past the script and trust their own communication skills. You could even offer improvisation training – where they need to keep the momentum of the scene going by thinking on their feet – as a fantastic team building activity.

Like you train your agents on your systems, your business plan and their objectives, make it a priority to nurture conversation skills and encourage your agents to channel them into the workplace so they can connect with their customers.

Remember that call centre scripts aren’t the enemy and can be very useful when used sparingly. Try re-working them into punchy bullet points rather than paragraphs. If an agent falters they can be a great way to keep the conversation on track.

Conversation is the key to productive interactions and ultimately positive customer experience. Productive conversations mean that even if the issue is not resolved on the spot, it’s progressed, so both parties feel like they have achieved something by spending the time on the phone, and your customers walk away with a positive story about your company to tell their friends. And they will.

 


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